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Benjamin Diokno

Secretary of Budget and Management, Philippines

Dr. Diokno is the current Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). He finished his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines (1968), and earned his Master’s Degree in Public Administration (1970) and Economics (1974) from the same university. He also holds a Master of Arts in Political Economy (1976) from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA and a Ph.D. in Economics (1981) from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, USA. He was also conferred a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, by the University of the Philippines (2017).

He is Professor Emeritus of the University of the Philippines-Diliman and one of the 2017 UP Alumni Association’s Most Distinguished Alumni. For more than 40 years, he taught various courses, such as Public Sector Economics, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Development Economics and Special Topics (e.g., Public Enterprises Investment and Pricing Policies; Local Government Finance, etc.). He was also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (City University of Manila).

He served as Fiscal Adviser to the Philippine Senate, Chairman and CEO of the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), and Chairman of the Local Water Utilities Administration.

His policy expertise and research contribution extend to various areas of public economics, such as the structure and scope of government, tax policies and reforms, public expenditure management analysis, fiscal decentralization, national budget and public debt among other topics. He has extensive experience in implementing reforms at the public sector, having served as Budget Undersecretary from 1986 to 1991 and Budget Secretary from 1998 to 2001. Some of his major policy reform contributions include: providing technical assistance to the 1986 Tax Reform Program which simplified the income tax system and introduced the value-added tax in the Philippines, helping design the 1991 Local Government Code of the Philippines, initiating a What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get policy to streamline the release of funds, sponsoring the internationally-lauded Government Procurement Reform Act to modernize, regulate, and standardize government procurement activities in the Philippines.

He served as an adviser and consultant to various multilateral agencies like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Commission, and USAID for work in the Philippines, China and transitioning economies like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Mongolia.

 He has also participated in numerous international conferences hosted by the IMF, ADB, World Bank, APEC, UN among other international organizations. Beyond this, he has authored numerous publications and discussion papers regarding his research interests that have been published in academic journals and policy reports.

In his third tour of duty as Budget Secretary, he intends to pursue an expansionary fiscal policy to finance investments in human capital development and public infrastructure. In addition, he seeks for the passage of a Budget Reform Bill to modernize the Philippine budget system and to ensure the compliance of future budgets with the pertinent laws of the land. He also aims to re-organize and professionalize the bureaucracy with a Government Rightsizing Act.